I haven't done a meme in a while, and this one made me hungry. Go see Academic Coach for the story behind the meme.
1) What would you like to eat when you go out with Todd (he's a food critic and it's free meal)?
First, we begin with warm bread baked locally by an Italian family who have been here now for five generations, and who really know how to make delicious bread. The bread will come with a generous bowl of hot tomato dipping oil. Few things in life taste better, when you are really hungry, than a crust of fresh bread dipped into thick spicy tomato oil. The dark red tomato dipping oil is served hot, and you have to stir it occasionally to keep the golden olive oil from separating from the thick tomato sauce.
During this leisurely appetizer, we pause to absorb the atmosphere of the restaurant. The brick walls are centuries old: the big glass windows look out at a courtyard where people can sit in the summer. It's an intimate courtyard, perfect for poetry readings or performances by local musicians. The tables in the restaurant are small and bunched together so that customers sit elbow to elbow.
Next comes the salad. All kinds of greens, with some redleaf lettuce tossed in for sweetness, and locally grown veggies, diced into bite-size pieces. Black olives and hot peppers, of course. The dressing is simple, olive oil and vinegar, so that we can taste the veggies.
The soup is minestrone, a tomato base, thick and flavorful, lots of garlic and onion, with kidney beans, chick peas, and round noodles.
Next comes a big plate, with three different side orders on it. Artichoke hearts with some kind of sauce - oh, we will let the food critic worry about what is in the sauce. Mmmm. So good. Brocolli with garlic sauce, a nicely spicy addition to offset the more bland artichoke hearts. Then a carrot and raisin salad that makes the plate colorful, because the visual is important here.
The next plate served sounds simple: beans and rice. But this place knows how to blend the spices to make beans and rice a gourmet dish.
The best part of a vegan meal, of course, is that if you eat slow enough and savor your food, you somehow still have room for dessert: chocolate ecstasy cake. Yes, it's vegan, and served with hot herbal tea, ecstatic is the right adjective to use for this dining experience.
2) Why is writing important in your life?
Writing is like food, sleep, or sex. It's essential to my life at a very basic level. A need, not a luxury. I've considered myself a writer since I was about seven years old. I've kept a journal since then. I have stacks of old journals.
I have to write. I don't care much whether or not anyone reads what I write, but writing makes my life richer, keeps me in balance, helps me become the person I want to be. Writing is how I think through conflict, how I figure out what I am feeling, how I reflect on my experiences, and how I figure out what I value.
When I write, I can be whoever I want to be at that moment. I can be funny, or angry, or sad. I can be sappy, and corny, and sentimental. I can let all the deep sadness of the world wash over me. I can be a playful little kid, or an old wise person. I can be afraid, and I can be powerful. The words let me choose what role I want to play.
My journals are full of different voices. My blog persona is in there. So are some of my poetry voices. My teacher voice, my parenting voice, my academic voice, my sarcastic voice. I have angry rants, and sometimes touching narratives. Language allows me to accept and express all these different parts of myself.